Proud to be a mutual
As well as giving members an overview of how our Society has performed this year, there was quite a people focus to Chairman Sarah Evan's speech at this year's AGM. She introduced Steve Finlan our new CEO to members, this being his first AGM. There was a special mention for Liz Cerroti for standing in as interim CEO and Pierre Mansour for heading up both Buying and Marketing Departments for the past year. Lastly, Sarah thanked Katherine Douglas who retired from the Committee at the AGM after 16 years service.
Sarah reported that our financial performance had been 'reassuringly steady'; reassuring given that in the current climate and with a flat active membership, we saw a modest increase in sales. She went on to explain why we need to be more pro-active in both recruiting more new members and reactiving those that have lapsed, and even more vocal about what a great organisation The Wine Society is. This, she explained, was behind our strategy to grow the business at a faster rate than we have done recently. In order to be able to offer members the best wines and service at the best prices we need to improve the way we do things, requiring investment in IT and warehousing and increasing our own van fleet, one of the best-loved aspects of our service.
Questions and comments from the floor included praise for our tastings and events programme; comments about the way the Annual Review was presented this year; what we are doing about appealing to younger members and on encouraging greater diversity at board level; what measures we are taking to combat our carbon footprint; what our policy is on mailshots versus email. There was a question about the modern slavery act and how we audit our suppliers; could members sell back surplus en primeur purchases to fellow members? Why our boxes need to be so robust. Why so few English sparkling wines on the List.
A full transcript of questions and answers will be published in the Minutes of the AGM which will be shown here once approved.
Sarah Evans, Chairman
Pierre Mansour, Head of Buying